BRICS emerging economies meet as U.S. trade war looms
U.S. President Donald Trump's hardening stance has compounded fears of an all-out trade war after he slapped levies on goods from China worth tens of billions of dollars and imposed tariffs on other international imports.
China's President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Michel Temer will attend the annual summit, along with several African leaders invited as guests.
Xi held talks with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the eve of the gathering, saying that "the Johannesburg summit has special significance for BRICS cooperation in the new circumstances".
China this week sharply rejected accusations by Trump that it was manipulating the yuan to give its exporters an edge, saying Washington appeared determined to provoke a trade war.
Trump has said he is ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese imports, complaining that China's trade surplus with the US is due to unfair currency manipulation.
The BRICS group, comprising more than 40 percent of the global population, represents some of the biggest emerging economies, but it has struggled to find a unified voice - as well as achieving sharply different growth rates. ■